Spring In The Bearpit was the first collaborative event held in the Bearpit since the Bearpit Bristol CIC came into being and merging the three businesses. Free and open to everyone, the event saw market stalls, street food, live music, dance and kids workshops. Making the Bearpit a more safe and inclusive space is at the forefront of all we do and we set about curating this event to bring people into the space to see how beautiful it is, and to encourage seeing the Bearpit as a destination.
Knowing that to create a safe and inclusive space we would need a core ethos of collaboration and diversity, this event enables us to invite key collaborators to the event as traders or as key stakeholders that support us. Bunting made for us by Cafe Sewciety was on show across the Bearpit and our communal benches arrived from our friends at Party benches. Traders who joined us on the day to add to the usual offerings from Bearpit Social, Bare Food and Bearritos were Buckland Burgers, Olive n Sage and Smoke Catering, all bringing their amazing street food to the space.
There was great music throughout the day provided by Yes Man Jellyfish, the Funkensteins, Sula Mae, Bashema, DJ Don't Sleep Collective, and Cleo Lake ran an inspirational dance workshop which showed the bearpit community coming together at it’s best and inspiring us all to take part.
We aim to support and encourage local, independent traders to new, regular markets in the Bearpit and at the Spring in the Bearpit event we welcomed Bristol Jam Plan, Good Sixty and Touch Massage.
Spring in the Bearpit is an important time. The new, community garden, designed by Incredible Edible Bristol’s Sara Venn and created by their volunteers, is coming into bloom, with colourful daffodils and tulips and the promise of the the exciting season that is to come. We are celebrating the return of the warm days with longer daylight hours and enjoying seeing people return to the space and using it to relax in, drinking coffee and using the new seating in the garden as well as the Grow Wild planters with seats. People are beginning to use the table tennis table again and generally use the space as a city centre park.
But we have more than that to celebrate. What is important to all of us who regularly work or volunteer in the space is the community and the people that make the Bearpit the space it is today. Over the last year working with a stakeholder group that is wide and diverse, including senior officers from Bristol City Council, Avon and Somerset Police, Bristol Drugs Project and more, we are committed to our vision of a safer Bearpit and we are pleased to see that through our planning and action the Bearpit is no longer in Bristol’s top 20 crime hotspots. We have a zero tolerance approach to any violence and harassment that might happen in the space and we believe this has lead to less incidents.
We were thrilled to hear our Mayor say this, “I pass through the Bearpit regularly and am pleased to see that it is improving.“
With this in mind we also celebrated signing the Zero Tolerance Pledge. Bristol Zero Tolerance is a new initiative set up by Bristol Women’s Commission working towards Bristol becoming a city free from gender-based violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation. Bristol is the first city in England to take on this challenge and what they want to achieve really inspired us.
In our vision in creating a Community Action Zone, diversity has to be at the core of it. Creating a space space for all members of the community is something we think about in all that we do. Bearpit Bristol CIC is proud to be employers of LGBT & BME staff and to see the representations of these minorities in the crowd made us proud.
Throughout the day the Bearpit was filled with laughter and smiles, children running through the garden and following the trail of the new pathway, with adults, teens and younger children all mixing to make the space dynamic, exciting and beautiful. We welcomed Councillor Paul Smith, Joanna Dainton from Bristol Waste and well as Kurt James and Adam Crowther from Bristol City Council all of whom were excited to see the space being so full of the positive atmosphere the music and street food traders were helping to create along with Bearpit Bristol CIC.
In total we estimated 1000 attendees got to enjoy and be part of Spring in the Bearpit. To make it happen we had all 15 staff, 1 intern, 6 stewards, 4 volunteers as well as Metropolis Security on duty.
The event could not have happened without the support from Bristol City Council, E-Spark, Unltd. and Resonance.
To many more!